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Tuesday

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December 2017

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COMMENTS

Fearless Predictions

Written by , Posted in General

As of this writing, off-season  activity has been pretty slow across Major League Baseball. So let’s crank things up with a few fearless predictions for our beloved Cubbies. To steal a line from David Letterman: “This is only an exhibition, not a competition…please, no wagering.”

Jake Arrieta—What do the Cubs do with their former Cy Young Award winner? Let somebody else overpay for him! Jake will be 31 as of opening day, and it will likely take a six-year deal to land him. Thanks but no thanks. Prediction…Arrieta signs with the Angels, who have lots of experience signing middle-aged ballplayers to mega deals that look awful down the road.

Closer—Will Wade Davis return to Wrigley? Will Brandon Morrow sign and close games for the Northsiders? Will Carl Edwards Jr. fill the 9th inning slot? Will Randy Myers come out of retirement? “No” to all of the above. In case you missed it, the hapless Padres have a stud closer just waiting to be acquired. Prediction…The Cubs deal a prospect or two for Brad Hand, who is arbitration eligible this year. San Diego is in serious rebuilding mode, so acquiring prospects and saving cash will be extremely attractive.

Shohei Ohtani and the Starting Staff—Multiple sources are reporting that Ohtani’s final list is down to seven teams, including the Cubs. Talking heads and Twitter freaks can’t stop talking about his two-way player potential, but for me Ohtani is a starting pitcher. The Cubs will need to replace Arrieta, and Ohtani is full of upside. But when push comes to shove, I say he signs with an A.L. squad so that he can DH from time to time (if a team is crazy enough to let him do so). Prediction…Ohtani to the Mariners, and no he doesn’t succeed as a two-way player. Prediction part two…The Cubs sign free agent Lance Lynn to a three-year deal with an option and move Montgomery to the rotation.

Bonus Prediction—How about a quick NFL prediction? Since the mid-1980s my brother and I make our Super Bowl predictions in late August/early September, right before the season begins. This year I went with Pittsburgh and…..Green Bay (oops). If I’m allowed a do-over I’ll stick with the Steelers, but switch my NFC squad to the New Orleans Saints. Hard to believe that the Saints are winning with defense and the running game.

That’s all I have for now. What say you?

  • Adam Peters

    I say Jake signs with St. Louis. Playing second fiddle to the Cubs seems to have made their front office lose their previously unshakable good sense (see Albert Pujols, not resigning). Look for them to try to “stick it” to the the Cubs by “stealing away Arrieta.” And as fantastic as Jake’s been for the Cubs, especially those 2 World Series wins, I agree with you, Joe. Signing him to a big, fat Boras contract is going to be a disaster for at least 4 of those 6 years.

    • Michael S.

      If they don’t land Stanton (which…eh, I’ll give it a 50/50 shot)…then maybe. But there’s no way the struggling, small market Cardinals who get a gift freebie draft pick every year are gonna be able to afford the both of em. Though I’m sure the league would find a way to give them a luxury tax waiver if they ended up over that threshold for the first time ever, and maybe a couple extra draft picks (maybe give them the one they took from ATL).

  • Brad Lyerla

    Brad Hand is an interesting possibility. His numbers in 2017 were impressive.

  • Giving Brad Hand a job doesn’t seem very appealing to me.

    • Buddy

      Hey hey!

    • Doc Raker

      That is Seymour territory.

      • Seymour Butts

        He’s obviously doing it wrong.

      • Doc Raker

        I wouldn’t know

    • Sherm

      Beat me to it. I think Seymour is a big fan of Hand.

      I don’t want to listen to the game when Len and JD dance around Hand and Johnson jokes, though.

      I have an uneasy feeling that they will re-sign Lackey to a one year deal.

      The only way Arrieta comes back is if he really wants to – meaning he’s willing to accept a 3 year contract with an option for big $$ in years 4 and 5 if he performs. In other words? He’s out.

      If St. Louis gets both Stanton and Arrieta, I think they can only afford to put 5 other players on the field.

      I’m hoping that Caratini becomes the backup catcher, and they don’t spend any money on a more “veteran” presence. I like his versatility.

      At this point, I believe that what they do with personnel is less important that what the personnel does with the opportunity. They have a lot of players who can play – and almost all of them can and should improve on their 2017 campaign. I really hope the new offensive coordinator preaches a little more Billy Ball and a lot less “hit it to the moon” or I feel that we won’t see much difference on that side of the ledger. This team excelled in 2016 because they worked pitchers and took walks and did a better job of hitting away from the shift. Javy Baez is capable of 35 homers. I hope he never comes close to that. I’d rather see him with 175 hits and 10 homers. And 30 stolen bases. And a gold glove. They should make him watch Jose Altuve film all spring.

      Not a big Lance Lynn fan. Not sure why. Not the uniform…just not a top of the rotation guy at this point, and overpriced for anything below that. I don’t think you have to win 100 games to win this division – so promote from within early on and see how that shakes out. The only way to truly develop major league ballplayers is to allow them to play in the major leagues.

      Ohtani? Don’t care one way or the other at this point.

      • Sure they struck out a lot, but this team excelled in 2016 because they worked pitchers and took walks and did a better job of hitting away from the shift, and saw a lot of pitches and worked deep into counts and slid directly into bases and made solid throws and hustled to first and hit a lot of home runs.

      • Adam Peters

        You and Maddon and your versatility.

      • Sherm

        Yeah, but I meant he is a switch hitter, not that he can also pitch, play outfield, mow and edge, scuba dive and sing.

      • Adam Peters

        Damn! I was hoping he could play centerfield.

      • A good edger is hard to find.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I would imagine it would be hard to both scuba dive and sing at the same time.

      • Seymour Butts

        You would be wrong my friend.
        Though the enunciation suffers greatly my underwater O mio Babbino caro compares favorably with most rap “songs”

        Ok, that was not just a random song title. Though it has nothing to do with baseball, check out this clip:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9PQ7qPkluM

      • Sherm

        Okay, now what. I have a broken wine glass, an ear-ache, and I’m crying a little.

        What does that have to do with scuba diving? This is a scuba diving blog.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Oh that explains it! Everyone is on vacation enjoying warm weather and scuba diving. Why didn’t I get the memo?

      • Eddie Von White

        Someone has to mind the store.

    • Seymour Butts

      Pretty sure Ray Walston is still dead.

      • Buddy

        So is Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

  • Doc Raker

    I thought it was common thought that Arrieta is gone. I think it is obvious Arrieta is a quality 5 inning starter that will be over paid for a period of time that is way to long. Is this even debatable?

    If the two starters to replace Arrieta and Mr. Ed are Lance Lynn and MMM the Cubs have no chance to make the playoffs.

    • Buddy

      Here’s what they did last year:
      Arrieta–30 starts, 168.1 IP, 3.53 ERA
      Lackey–30 starts, 170.2 IP, 4,59 ERA
      Lynn and Montgomery could easily match or improve upon those numbers, if the Cubs decide to go that way (I’m not rooting for those moves, just predicting that they may occur). Plus, who’s to say they won’t make a mid-season trade for a stud SP if they need to? Regardless of what they do, the Cubs are almost a lock make the playoffs, unless they are completely demolished by injuries. Returning to the World Series? That’s a different issue of course.

      • Doc Raker

        I disagree on the playoff lock belief. The Brewers are young and good and you can never count out the Cardinals. The Reds will continue to cause the Brennaman’s heart ache and the Pirates completely fell from grace late in 2017 and are a big question mark, the Pirates can go either way, up or down in 2018.

        You can’t have 5 starting pitchers all having 5 inning outings all year long. I was high on MMM last off season but he got knocked around pretty good down the stretch in 2017 so projecting him as a starter has Shawn Estes written all over it.

        The only thing you gain with Lance Lynn verse John Lackey is space in the dugout because they can remove the bail of hay.

      • Buddy

        Being able to bail hay is a valuable skill! So what do you think the Cubs will do with their rotation? This is a prediction column after all. Let’s read some more crystal ball content.

      • Doc Raker

        I think Thed will trade for starting pitching or sign FA Alex Cobb. Thed keeps quiet until deals are done. I say MMM is a long shot for the rotation. If they sign Alex Cobb then Thed will look to trade for another pitcher with my slugger Schwarbs. I have a bias for Tommy Hunter for our bullpen because I saw him pitch in the Arizona fall league back in 2009 or so. He was impressive back then but admit I don’t know his current numbers and I am too lazy to look them up.

        I also predict a high profile athlete will be accused of sexual misconduct that happened in 2011 during the players minor league carer by a Hooters waitress in Pensacola FL.

      • Seymour Butts

        Svengali.

  • Buddy

    Welcome to Wrigley Tyler Chatwood. Thoughts on this move?

    • JTBarrett16

      I view him as our 5th starter to get us to October. But a better 5th starter than Lackey or Hammel.